Activist and self-proclaimed “feminist-in-progress” Jameela Jamil had a lot to say — and a lot to teach — about tabloid culture after she was pulled into a debate over Kim Kardashian’s maternity shapewear line, whose mere existence caused a stir online over the weekend.
‘The Good Place’ actress took issue with how the media relayed her thoughts on Skims’ latest offering and pitted her against the reality star and also TV personality Chrissy Teigen, who defended Kardashian’s business venture after it was blasted by critics.
“I’ve very much so enjoyed my spree lately of shedding light on ... tabloid culture towards women via showing you how they twist all my words and actions and I hope it makes us all second guess everything we see them write/say about all women in the public eye,” Jamil tweeted on Monday. “I don’t engage with this ‘turn the other cheek’ bull —. I’m not Jesus. I will fight you.”
The outspoken podcast host, who’s also the founder of the “radical inclusivity” movement I Weigh, has regularly shot down gossipy stories about her and her remarks on hot-button issues, particularly impossible beauty standards and their effect on mental health.
Jamil often lambasts or reframes the negative narratives that articles perpetuate. Her pointed commentary has turned her into a critical darling to some but a polarising figure to others. (The actress recently came out as queer after her appointment to host HBO Max’s vogueing competition series “Legendary” came under fire.)
The latest example took place last weekend when stories published on the topic of maternity shapewear made it sound as if Kardashian, Teigen and Jamil were entrenched in a battle royale when in fact they were the only celebs really talking about it. Jamil deemed the garments unnecessary and exclusionary, but Kardashian and Teigen argued that they were pragmatic, providing support for pregnant bodies rather than slimming down their burgeoning appearance.
Kardashian took to social media Sunday night to defend her embattled line and speak out against the backlash — which outlets deemed a clapback at Jamil for her critique. (It wasn’t.)
The British actress was an easy target, though. She’s been harshly critical of the Kardashians, and her vocal opposition to Skims’ maternity shapewear was crystallised in a lengthy observation after Kardashian announced Saturday that the pregnancy collection would launch this week.
“It would be so cool if pregnant people could just be allowed to be pregnant and get bigger and not be self conscious, and enjoy the miracle taking place inside their body and not have to worry about feeling embarrassed/shamed that their body is changing for an amazing reason,” Jamil wrote on Instagram, further elaborating on her first impression of the line in the post’s caption.
However, her post was closely followed by a video from Teigen, who is pregnant with her third child, sharing a live demo and lengthy defence of the shapewear. (She even threw in a dig at the Daily Mail in the video.) That led to more headlines conflating the women’s involvement in the debate.
Kardashian’s response to the hubbub addressed those who “may not know the struggle” of carrying pregnancy weight. (The reality star-turned-beauty mogul had two difficult pregnancies and thus used a surrogate to carry her third and fourth children.)
“We launched this category in response to the tens of thousands of pregnant women who wrote us requesting it and because it was something I personally needed when I was pregnant myself,” Kardashian said. “Based on the majority of positive feedback we have received so far from pregnant women around the world, I am incredibly proud to provide a solution that will provide comfort and support during the times that we all need it most, during pregnancy and after.”
Of course, that statement was construed as a direct rebuttal of Jamil, because, you know, they’re all famous. The actress posted a screengrab of a BuzzFeed story with the headline “Kim Kardashian Responded To Backlash Over Her Maternity Shapewear Line After Jameela Jamil And Chrissy Teigen Got Involved.”
Teigen also posted a lengthy NSFW video on Instagram Stories defending and praising the line. Kardashian reposted it on her Stories too.
Jamil grew annoyed and “bored” of being dragged into the manufactured drama. She said she was merely commenting on the discourse around body-shaming during pregnancy and used her platform to comment on the “huge societal problem with the way pregnant people feel they have to look while making a baby. (Not to mention the drama and pressure of post pregnancy bodies ... a whole other nightmare that we as a society have to tackle.)”
Jamil then took her argument to Twitter to blast tabloids: “The garbage way that tabloids try to set women upon each other to create a fantasy bitch fight for entertainment is so disgusting and archaic. We all know each other ... you can’t just make ... up about us.”
In response to a commenter asking why the media like to portray the actress in a bad light, Jamil argued that the press loves to build women just to kick them off their pedestal — citing Beyonce´, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Marie Kondo, Whitney Houston, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, among others. She later advised followers to stop giving tabloids “the clicks” and “kill” the appetite for that sort of damaging content.